It’s a well known fact within the Erie community that Villa Maria Academy has become exclusively an all girls school. It is easy to forget, however, that Villa not long ago was co-ed. The school’s history has been a changing dynamic of both co-ed and exclusively girls, but now the school seems to have finally committed to being an all girls institution. Although the school today is officially all female, it is important not to forget that accolades and achievements that the male students and student-athletes accomplished in their years at Villa while the school was still co-ed.
Before the merger with Cathedral Prep during the 2009-2010 school year, Villa still had a small number of boys who attended their school. After the two schools joined together, the boys who were attending the school were allowed to finish their high school careers Villa. Following their graduation, the school enrolled only young women, and the school has thrived under that format, while Cathedral Prep has remained an all boys school.
Ever since Prep and Villa merged, the two campuses have begun sharing a number of different aspects of their respective schools and traditions. It started out with sharing small things such as buses, but has evolved to the point where the name of the Cathedral Prep Events Center was renamed to become the Prep and Villa Events Center (PVEC). It seems as though the two schools have become closer than ever the past couple of years.
Recently, Villa unveiled their one thousand points scorers board in the Joann Mullen Gymnasium at the PVEC. The board includes some of their big name players, including the likes of Kayla McBride and Maria DeVecchio. The board, however, is clearly missing a number of players who attended Villa and also topped the thousand points mark. The Villa boys’ names are missing.
Yes, the male players that went to Villa before it became an all girls institution were all but forgotten when the list was created. This list includes the likes of Tony McLauren (1996) with 1,271 points, William Pituch (2001) with 1,385 points, and Kevin Buczynski (2004) with 1,616 points. At any level of high school basketball a 1,000-point career is impressive. The players who have reached this milestone should be able to go to PVEC and show their families what they accomplished.
One of Villa’s male standout athletes, Kevin Buczynski, has quite the impressive resume deserving of recognition. He is the all-time blocks leader at Villa and also set the record for number of blocks in a game with 16. He also recorded two triple doubles, was named two-time second team All-State, and is the all-time leading male scorer at Villa. “I guess I really don’t understand why the Villa males were not on the all-time scoring board hanging up in the PVEC,” Buczynski said. “I worked hard on the basketball court, in the classroom, and serving my country [in the United States Air Force]. The records and recognition show that. I think I speak for all the Villa guys in saying, why were we left off the board?”
Mr. Bill Flanagan, athletic director for Prep and Villa, said, “When the 1,000-point board was originally constructed, we placed the names of just the Villa girls on that board. There is no disrespect intended to anyone. We have room to make additions to the board and will evaluate that moving forward.”
Villa had no intent on leaving the boys off the list, but the school still should reevaluate their decision and correct the oversight so that the players are acknowledged for their hard work. Current Villa senior, Annmarie Coppola, commented, “I don’t see the problem with putting the boys who scored 1,000 points [on the board]. I think they deserve to be recognized for their accomplishment.” These distinguished players, as well as all the other boys who participated in sports at Villa, deserve to be recognized for their feats, even if the school has moved on to a different era.